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Shawn Elliot - Shawn Elliot
 

Shawn Elliot - Shawn Elliot

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Title:  Shawn Elliot
Company: Tomorrow
Catalog: TVI-138
Year: 1977
Country/State: US
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: cut out notch along bottom edge

None of the Tomorrow releases are easy to find and 1977's "Shawn Elliot" is no exception. It doesn't command the big dollars of some of the other releases on this tax scam label, but I'd subscribe that to the fact it's such an unknown release.

So there is a Shawn Elliott (note the extra 't') who's worked on Broadway and recorded a couple of mid-1960s album. This Shawn Elliott has appeared in a series of stage productions including 'Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, City of Angels, and Marie Christine. Same guy? Beats me. That said, there's a clear link to the writing/production team of singer/guitarist Clifton Nivison and drummer Martin Fulterman (aka Mark Snow). Nivison and Fulterman were members of The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble who spent a couple of years in the mid-1970s working for the New York City-based Opal Music. They wrote, made demos, and produced material for a wide array of acts, much which never saw a release. When the partnership broke up Opal seemingly sold some of their material to Tomorrow. Following the chain - the Nivison/Fulternman material was published by Probosis Music. Six of the ten tracks on this album are credited to ... Probosis Music. So, my guess (nothing more than a guess), is that at least some of this album reflects stuff Nivison and Fulterman worked on during the mid-1970s.

Co-produced by John Gomez and Elliot Rosoff, 1977's cleverly titled "Shawn Elliot" offered up an amazingly varied collection of material, ranging from Broadway-styled ballads to disco outings, and folk-rock. The breadth of material was so diverse you had to wonder if this was meant as a demo to showcase Elliot's versatility, or more likely, reflected a couple of different artists slapped together under one album. The latter certainly seem to be the case given the link to Nivision and Fultermman. Any doubt as to whether this was a compilation of multiple acts then Just check out the tracks 'Laff' and 'Sharpshooter'). Regardless, whoever he was, namesake Elliot had a nice enough voice that was quite versatile and commercial. That said, his performances had an edge that made you wonder if he had stage training. There was something kind of stilted and regimented in performances such as 'Take My Hand' and 'Bambi In My Arms'.  

- Opening up with a disco-flavored number, 'Breakaway' was actually a pretty funny effort. While neither the genre, nor the high key were particularly well suited for Elliot's voice, he gave it his best shot. Imagine someone having decided to take a Screamin' Jay Hawkins song and set it to a disco beat. rating: *** stars
- 'I Remember' was a big, sensitive ballad. Exceptionally sappy, this one reminded me of something Richard Harris might have tackled, though Elliot's voice came off as being much more likeable than on the first track. rating: ** stars
- 'Take My Hand' started out with a nice fuzz guitar pattern before exploding into a pop-rock outing that sounded like it had been written as the centerpiece for a Broadway show. If you're ever looking for a 'big' song, then this is it. Goofy, but somehow engaging. Besides how couldn't you smile at a song that included the lyric "I'll take you through the neon lights, empty nights, and acid dreams." rating: **** stars
- Yeah, the title was funny as all get out ... So what the world the world does a song with a title like 'Bambi In My Arms' sound like? Perhaps not a big surprise, it was a big ballad that once again sounded like it had been written for some sort of stage production. Nice hook, but the track was smothered in heavy orchestration. rating: *** stars
- Sporting a great folk-rock flavor complete with lots of chiming electric guitar, 'Black Gypsy' was probably the closest thing to a true rock song on side one. Elliot actually sounded like he was cutting loose on this one, turning in his best vocal. Great song that would have sounded good on top-40 radio. rating: **** stars
- I remember Al Wilson's version of 'The Snake' and this one isn't all that different. Maybe a touch more discofied. rating: **
- 'Wrong End of the Rainbow' found Elliot trying to get funky by dropping and roughening up his voice. Not a complete success, but the track had a great bass pattern and the mandolin solo was hysterical. rating: *** stars
- 'Laff' was clearly a different artist. A disco oriented track, this one featured an anonymous female group doing their best Silver Convention impression. rating: ** stars
- Similarly, 'Sharpshooter' didn't sound like anything else on the album. In fact, the same song appeared on a Tomorrow album credited to The Former Members of the N.Y. Rock Ensemble.  rating: *** stars
- 'Little Brother' sounded like a mid-1970s Neil Diamond track with one of those sappy life-is-unfair lyrics. So bad it was actually fun.  rating: *** stars

Easily one of the stranger releases on Tomorrow, but enjoyable in a weird kind of way.

I have no idea what this means, but a couple of the tracks were credited to E.B. Marks, whom I'm guessing may have been Edward B. Marks. Marks is the owner of Edward B. Marks Music Company which is related to Carlin America which is one of the country's largest independent music publishers. Anyone out there got the scoop on this mystery, drop me a line.

"Shawn Elliott" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Breakaway (E.B. Marks) - 
2.) I Remember  
3.) Take My Hand (Probosis Music) - 
4.) Bambi In My Arms (Probosis Music) - 
5.) Black Gypsy (Probosis Music) - 

(side 2)
1.) The Snake (E.B, Marks) - 
2.) Wrong End of the Rainbow (Probosis Music) - 
3.) Laff (Probosis Music) - 
4.) Sharpshooter (Probosis Music) - 
5.) Little Brother
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